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If you have been looking into estate planning in California, you may have come across a revocable trust. Many financial advisors and attorneys suggest that this is one of the most powerful tools you need whether or not you have assets and beneficiaries. Read on to know more about revocable trusts and if they are right for you.

What is a revocable trust?

A revocable trust (also known as a living trust) is a separate legal entity that you sign, naming a third party entity to hold and administer your assets. The third-party entity is known as a trustee, and you—the creator of the trust— is the grantor. And, of course, the people that will receive your assets when you pass are your beneficiaries.

It is termed “revocable” because you can change the terms of the trust whenever and however you want or revoke it when you are alive. But, once dead, it becomes irrevocable or unchangeable. The trustee you named will carry out your wishes exactly as you dictated on the trust.

Furthermore, the assets in the revocable trusts are owned by the grantor. You will still file tax returns, report capital gains, and answer to creditors. This makes it different from the irrevocable trust because the trustee becomes the new owner, and the grantor is set free from legal and financial ties to their property.

Is a revocable trust right for you?

As long as you are alive in California, you could use a revocable trust. It doesn’t matter whether you have multiple estates or businesses; you can use it for features such as Durable Power of Attorney or Advanced Healthcare Directive.

With Durable Power of Attorney (POA), you can name someone that will handle your legal or financial issues on your behalf when you become incapacitated. Advanced Healthcare Directive enables you to direct medical practitioners on how you want to be treated when you can’t make such decisions for yourself. And if you have assets, a revocable trust makes it easier for your beneficiaries to get your assets.

You should note, however, that revocable trusts do not save taxes. You will still pay income and estate taxes. Fortunately, California has no inheritance tax.

California residents who work in Hayward and its surrounding areas can benefit from knowing how labor law works. Employees are protected by various regulations. It’s helpful to have this information in case of a hostile working environment or unfair practices by employers.

You have the right to work free of discrimination

As part of anti-discrimination laws, diversity and inclusion in the workplace are encouraged. Discrimination is illegal against employees and applicants based on their race, color, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, age, and more. People have certain protections per the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other anti-discrimination laws.

Workers who have disabilities are also entitled to reasonable accommodations by their employers to ensure that they are able to perform their jobs.

You have the right to fair pay

Per the Fair Labor Standards Act, most employees are required to receive at least the federal minimum wage. Employers must pay everyone the same regardless of diversity and inclusion.

Women are entitled to fair pay per the Equal Pay Act.

You have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment

The Occupational Safety and Health Act exists to ensure that all workers are able to remain safe and healthy while in their working environment. Employers are required to keep hazards out of the workplace to prevent employees from getting injured or ill while they work.

The Family and Medical Leave Act is a law that allows employees to take time off for a serious personal medical issue or to care for a sick family member who has a serious medical issue.

Employees who have been laid off or terminated also have access to COBRA, which allows them to continue using the health insurance they got from their jobs for a period of time.

While these laws exist to protect employees, some employers still violate them. If this situation personally affects you, fight back to protect your rights.

Estate planning with a revocable trust gives you tremendous benefits in California. The revocable trust, however, shouldn’t be confused with an irrevocable trust. In some cases, it’s best to have a trust that no one, not even the creator of it, can change once the trust is binding. For estate owners who need more flexibility, revoking their trust might be the best solution at some point in their lives. A revocable trust gives you freedom in areas an irrevocable one does not.

Sheltering from uncertainty

Tax is a type of uncertainty for estate owners. Assets that grow in value or produce separate income are exposed to future taxes. Even without knowing now how much assets will appreciate, a trust can keep you from paying taxes. A revocable trust can even be a temporary shelter from creditors, but you need to confirm that the trust has a beneficiary.

Management from a trustee

Trusts are convenient because their creators entrust their assets to an asset manager. This manager is called a trustee and, when assigned correctly, will manage how assets appreciate, are taxed and transferred to your beneficiaries. The convenience that a trustee’s work creates gives you time to enjoy life now while having hope in how your estate is managed after death.

Self-assigned beneficiaries

With a revocable trust, you can make withdrawals and not be penalized for spending your trust’s funds. To give yourself even more authority over a revocable trust, you can name yourself as the trust’s beneficiary. This gives you the right to inherit the trust, direct the trustee and even be subject to the trustee’s advice. Even more, as the owner of the trust, you can revoke it at any time.

Estate planning in California

In some cases, a revocable trust won’t have the legal support your strategy needs. An irrevocable trust, for example, being that its status is somewhat immovable, offers more security for your assets. Trusts are secure in general, but you can’t hedge your assets in a revocable trust in the same way you can with an irrevocable trust.

Mediation is a popular workplace dispute resolution technique in which a neutral third party, called a mediator, facilitates communication between two or more parties to help them resolve conflict. If you’re expecting to participate in workplace mediation, preparing yourself can put you ahead of the rest when the process begins.

Know your key interests

You first need to know what you want out of the mediation process. Be sure to be as specific as possible about your claims and what outcomes you’re hoping to achieve. This will help the mediator better understand your case and develop a strategy to help resolve the dispute.

Do your research on the rules and the process

Knowing the basics of workplace mediation will help you understand what to expect and how the process works. Familiarize yourself with things, like confidentiality, the role of the mediator, and whether or not there are time limits on the process. Doing your homework ahead of time can save you from any surprises down the road.

Understand the other party’s position

In order to effectively negotiate, you need to understand where the other party is coming from. What are their key interests? What do they see as a resolution to the conflict? Understanding the other side’s perspective can help you find common ground and come up with compromises that both parties can agree on.

Prepare for any outcome

It’s important to prepare yourself for the possibility of workplace mediation ending with an unfavorable outcome. Have a backup plan in place, just in case things don’t go your way. This could mean, for instance, having another job lined up or getting legal counsel to help you protect your rights if the mediation process doesn’t result in a settlement.

Mediation is an important tool that usually helps people resolve workplace disputes without having to go to court. However, it’s important to put yourself in a better position to achieve a favorable outcome by preparing yourself.

A study has confirmed what many people have known for a while: The older you are, the higher the likelihood that you’ll deal with age discrimination at work. Researchers for the study created fictional resumes for applicants in three age groups: 29-31, 49-51, and 64-66.

The researchers applied to more than 40,000 jobs and found that people in the 64-66 age group received 35% fewer callbacks than those in the 29-31 age group. As a California business owner, here are some things you can do to fight age discrimination and promote diversity and inclusion in your company.

How does age discrimination affect your company?

Over the last 15 years, ageism cases made up 20-25% of all EEOC cases. Age discrimination cases usually garner the highest payouts as well. In 2013 alone, people who filed ageism cases received $93.9 million in compensation.

Diversity and inclusion are essential for businesses because it keeps companies from risking a huge settlement. When your company excludes older individuals, you’ll also miss out on the talent and expertise they can bring to your team. Fortunately, change is imminent. Businesses are actively looking for ways to avoid ageism.

Diversity and discrimination training

To protect your business from age discrimination claims, your managers and team members should attend training on diversity and inclusion. The training will give your employees a clearer understanding of the benefits of age diversity as well as the penalties for discriminating against individuals based on age.

It is also important for you to establish and enforce policies discouraging discrimination. Don’t assume that your employees will understand that ageism is not permitted in your workplace.

You need to clarify the policies and be sure that everyone who works for your company is aware of the policies. Make it clear that your business will not tolerate discrimination of any kind. This helps you create a better working environment for employees of all ages.